Why a Good-Enough Job Can Be Better than a Great Job

By Mel Sim

We all don’t have to wait for that dream job to happen….

It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to land our dream job. Why not, isn’t that why we worked so hard in university, slaved as interns, and going for countless of interviews so that we can finally land our dream job that will not only pay us all the money we’ve always wanted to earn but lets us travel round the world and make societal impacts that will change lives?

Stop. Right. There.

Therein lies the problem – that definition of a dream job. If your dream job is what we’ve just described, here’s something you need to know: It sounds like a real dream but if it’s not exactly the reality out there. Especially if it’s your first job or even your second or third! Because you would have to have many years of experience in the industry to land a job that matches that description and even then, it won’t be 100% a dream because of all the stress, politics and bureaucratic red tape that come with it!

So what you should be looking out for instead, if this is your first or second job? A good-enough job.

Hold up, listen to why we say that. It’s not like we’re asking you to aim low and take just any job that comes your way but we are saying even if the job doesn’t give you 100% what you’re looking for, meeting 70% of your criteria is good enough. It may not pay as much but you get lots of opportunities to grow and work with leaders. It’s not a multinational but you still get the exposure, maybe even more, because of the workforce size that allows you to dabble in more projects. It’s not super exciting but the benefits are great. Give and take, we say.

And the most important reason why a good-enough job should be on your radar: Because if you really excel in it and show that you have the skills, it can turn into your dream job or maybe the skills and experience you gain from it will lead you to your dream job! See where we are coming from?

Here’s another reason to consider a good-enough job: Your wellbeing. How many times have you felt pressured to “follow your passion”, “show ‘em what you got”, “hustle” at your job? To really love your work and give it 101%? Trying to keep up with “inspiration” can leave you feeling drained and burnt out, and before you know it, trying to make it your dream job will make it feel like a nightmare.

Then there is also the feeling of not being good enough if we land a job that’s not exactly glamorous. Doesn’t help when your friends seem to have it all in their careers. But maybe take a step back and consider this: Your friend in her dream role may be feeling inadequate because she’s not living up to expectations… or she’s experiencing sleepless nights because of the amount of stress and pressure she’s under no thanks to a boss who’s micromanaging and demanding. While you, in your “good-enough job” is given ample opportunity to learn and yet have your own time to pursue other interests. Now, which sounds more like a dream?

What we need to remind ourselves occasionally is this: While your work should provide you with some sense of achievement and belonging, it should not be your entire world and identity. If you base your achievements only on your work, you may be leading towards disappointment if it doesn’t live up to your expectations, or worst, if you suddenly lose your job (no thanks to the pandemic) or your roles undergo a change that doesn’t suit you – you may find yourself lost and desolate.

What work should feel like instead? That you actually enjoy it but at the same time you can walk away from it and enjoy other aspects of your life, like spending time with family and friends. A good-enough job can mean different things for friends but if it makes you happy to go to work and provides you with contentment, then we say, it’s a great job!

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

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